View Poll Results: Are nuclear energy plants just too dangerous, worldwide?

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  • They are too dangerous, do not build any more and shut down the ones currently in operation.

    4 18.18%
  • They are dangerous, do not build more but it is OK to keep using the ones already built.

    3 13.64%
  • The risks are worth it, keep expanding nuclear energy.

    12 54.55%
  • Other opinion (add your details in a posting on this thread)

    3 13.64%
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Thread: Nuclear energy - safe?

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  1. #1

    Default Nuclear energy - safe?

    http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/b...118037754.html

    President Barack Obama is defending nuclear power as an important source of energy in the U.S., even as new questions are raised about its safety following radiation leaks from an earthquake and tsunami-damaged nuclear plant in Japan.
    "I've already instructed our nuclear regulatory agency to make sure that we take lessons learned from what's happened in Japan and that we are constantly upgrading how we approach our nuclear safety in this country," the president said on KOAT.
    However, Obama said that all energy sources have downsides and none are foolproof. He said the U.S. learned that last summer during the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Are the massive risks associated with a nuclear accident just too high to justify building new nuclear power plants?

    Can a horrendous oil spill that caused enormous economic and environmental damage be equated to a nuclear accident that could possibly kill 100,000s of people?

    Is nuclear energy just too dangerous?
    Now run along and play, but donít get into trouble.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    It's all good, until suddenly it ain't.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    The reason why there's a huge bandwagon against nuclear power is because very few people know how it works, and how it safeguards itself. In over 60 years of operation, there are TWO human errors (TMI and Chernobyl) and ONE natural disaster (Japan). Never mind the hundreds of nuclear powered ships and subs, hundreds of civilian power plants across the globe, and the billions of safe full-power-hours of operation... because no one seems to care about that.

    But in the recent years, we've had dozens of other accidents: Coal mine collapses, oil rig explosions, oil spills, natural gas line explosions... all of which are accepted as normal processes in their industry.

    Russia aside (because their government and practices have been naturally shady for decades), the total death toll from radiation at TMI and at this point Japan = 0. If we want to bring up radiation health statistics, then we might as well bring up black lung, meso, oil vapor, and other health statistics comparable to their industries as well.

    Nuclear power is not the same as nuclear warheads. They're not even the same elements or isotopes.

    But if we want alternative energy, then I propose dotting the entire Hawaii landscape with wind turbines and solar panels. Yeah, that'll make this place look pretty.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    I won't talk about the safety issues, because I don't know much about them, but here are some things to think about regarding the economic damage potential:

    "I'm worried in the long term about Japan's economy," said Yoshiko Konno, in her 60s, as she charged her cellphone at a community center in Sendai. "Just think of one example — oysters! Are Americans and Europeans going to want to import Japanese oysters if they think there is a danger of radioactive contamination?"
    With petroleum not being a sustainable source of highly concentrated power, it's difficult to say what can take its place. Solar and wind don't seem to come even close to nuclear (unless some miracle technological break-through happens...before we "run out" of petroleum to fuel the research).

    I'm thinking we're heading towards an "extreme lifestyle change". Maybe mythical stories of race cars and airplanes will be told to children in the distant future.
    "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
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    Amateurs talk technology, professionals talk conditions." --(unknown)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    You are forgetting the partial meltdown at Fermi 1 in 1966, the Windscale fire in 1957, the "incidents" at Chalk River, and dozens of other accidents that have led to radiation leaks, fuel-rod damage, long-term shutdowns, and fatalities. Yes, fatalities: Charleston, RI, 1964; Buenos Aires, 1983; Tokai-mura, 1999. There have been many more incidents than just Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and that's just the civilian-operated reactors.

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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Clearly a very poor choice of location for the plant in a Tsunami Warning Zone. Not to mention underdesign for an earthquake zone. Anyways history has shown the unless you work at the plant or get up close to it, you aren't going to get radiation sickness or die.

    We need more clean, safe nuclear energy, not more imported oil. People just need to remember to not build certain things in poor locations. I would agree that the 9th ward in New Orleans shouldn't have a nuclear power plant or one sitting on or near a fault line.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    My comments would be learn from these mistakes and make nuclear reactors as safe as it can be.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post
    We need more clean, safe nuclear energy, not more imported oil.
    Nuclear energy. Clean????

    You do realize that nuclear waste, in the form of spent fuel rods, remain radioactive for thousands of years, right? You also realize that the United States currently has no permanent storage site for nuclear waste? Temporary measures like storage pools and dry casks are presently being employed. But if no one can come up with a plan for permanent waste disposal that is safe and economically feasible, then the whole process will eventually become unsustainable.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post
    People just need to remember to not build certain things in poor locations. I would agree that the 9th ward in New Orleans shouldn't have a nuclear power plant or one sitting on or near a fault line.
    I was living in San Luis Obispo, CA back in the '70's when the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was approved. It sits about one mile from an active earthquake fault. Many "environmentalists" were upset by the siting of the plant because of safety issues. I was working for the City of San Luis Obispo at the time as an urban planner and joined the protests. Although the City was not involved in the permitting process and had no legislative interest, PG&E went to the City and demanded I be fired from my position. The City reprimanded me, but I was not fired. PG&E poo-poo'd the concerns, saying they knew how to build a nucular (sic) plant to meet all safety standards. And it was built and is still operating today. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    Diablo Canyon is designed to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake from four faults, including the nearby San Andreas and Hosgri faults.[1] Equipped with advanced seismic monitoring and safety systems, the plant is designed to shut down promptly in the event of significant ground motion.

    Fortunately there has never been any significant seismic activity in the area in the intervening years to test the presumptions quoted above. But it is clear (by PG&E's own assertions) that this plant would not survive an earthquake of the magnitude in Japan. PG&E is a public utility that has to answer to stockholders that demand a return on their investment. This begs the question, what motivates PG&E, public safety or responsibility to their stockholders?

    Clearly, safety issues, with respect to all kinds of risk, have not been a primary consideration when building nuclear power plants around the world. Until safety can be reasonably assured by technology or location, then nucular (sic) energy is higly suspect as a viable source of sustainable power.

    Carbon 14 like petroleum is a limited natural resource. There is controversary with respect to how much is left in the earth. In fact, nucular (sic) energy is an old and outdated technology. It is time to devote significant research (with tax payer money) to developing alternative sources of energy. Until then, nucular (sic) energy is highly suspect as a viable source of sustainable power for the future.
    Last edited by matapule; March 16th, 2011 at 05:27 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    You are forgetting the partial meltdown at Fermi 1 in 1966, the Windscale fire in 1957, the "incidents" at Chalk River, and dozens of other accidents that have led to radiation leaks, fuel-rod damage, long-term shutdowns, and fatalities. Yes, fatalities: Charleston, RI, 1964; Buenos Aires, 1983; Tokai-mura, 1999. There have been many more incidents than just Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and that's just the civilian-operated reactors.
    A numbers game will still prove nuclear power is safer than other sources of energy. Yes, there are many lower-level incidents that have occurred, and no, I'm not forgetting about them. If you really want, the SL-1 Army tank reactor is deemed a failure, and that killed 3 (the ONLY three in the United States ever killed from a reactor failure, among the 7 total from criticality accidents (i.e. experiments or operator errors)). Considering the first online reactor was in 1954, the first few mentioned events occurred when nuclear power was still in a fledgling stage, and little was known about it. We have come a long way since then, and the biggest fault will always be operator error. If an operator does absolutely nothing, the plant will stabilize. If an operator overrides a safety function, the plant will disagree and could be damaged.

    -Regarding your Charlestown, RI Wood River Junction criticality incident, this was not a nuclear power plant, but a uranium salvaging plant.
    -Regarding Buenos Aires: operator procedural non-compliance. Do you change the battery when your car is running? Well you don't change a fuel rod while being moderated.
    -Regarding Tokai: operator procedural non-compliance, once again at a reprocessing facility, not a power plant. Do you put nitroglycerin in your gas tank? Do not put the wrong mixture of solution into a tank.

    I'd rather work a nuclear plant than dig a coal mine, work an oil rig, repair a wind turbine, cap a natural gas line, or drill for land-based oil anyday. If you want to talk about safety, then why are the latter jobs featured on "dangerous jobs" television episodes? No one would watch an hour-long segment of some nerdy operator sitting behind a panel for 12 hours.

    But, just because the other sources of energy have costly casualties as well doesn't mean I'm on a mis-informed bandwagon to stop any of their production either.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by bjd392 View Post
    -Regarding your Charlestown, RI Wood River Junction criticality incident, this was not a nuclear power plant, but a uranium salvaging plant.
    -Regarding Buenos Aires: operator procedural non-compliance. Do you change the battery when your car is running? Well you don't change a fuel rod while being moderated.
    -Regarding Tokai: operator procedural non-compliance, once again at a reprocessing facility, not a power plant. Do you put nitroglycerin in your gas tank? Do not put the wrong mixture of solution into a tank.
    Nice to see you can Google.

    All part of the nuclear power industry.

    I am one who wishes that nuclear power were the "answer" - because of the potential for it to be a cleaner and safer form than most of our current methods. Yes, it would be great to walk away from the current problems of coal/petroleum/natural gas power generation, but with that "cleaner" payoff comes a much higher risk than any of the other forms - a deadlier risk that spreads a wider net. "Human error" will always be a factor in any field, and the damage potential of mistakes in the nuclear industry is dramatic.

    In other words - we aren't capable of handling it safely (and that includes the waste by-product FM spoke of earlier). It's the dilemma around which the plot-line of "Jurassic Park" revolved: just because science/industry can do something doesn't mean we should.

    (And as for my education in this field, during a brief journalistic stint in the late 1970's, my beat included a nuclear power plant in the Midwest, so I did the required research, went to industry seminars, and got the security clearance to enter the grounds of the plant.)

  12. #12
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    Unhappy Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    You are forgetting the partial meltdown at Fermi 1 in 1966, the Windscale fire in 1957, the "incidents" at Chalk River, and dozens of other accidents that have led to radiation leaks, fuel-rod damage, long-term shutdowns, and fatalities. Yes, fatalities: Charleston, RI, 1964; Buenos Aires, 1983; Tokai-mura, 1999. There have been many more incidents than just Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and that's just the civilian-operated reactors.
    Thank the Internet for Leo!

    I have never even heard about these other radioactive leaks!

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